The 2016 FIA European Super 1600 Rallycross Championship kicked off last weekend at Montalegre in Portugal with a record entry of 33 cars, however it was Danish driver Ulrik Linnemann who walked away with victory on Sunday.
With the wet weather conditions making the track slippery for Q1 on Saturday, it was a simple case of survival of the fittest as the competitors all attempted to set the fastest time possible in the conditions before them. Estonian driver Janno Ligur finished Q1 fastest in his Skoda Fabia, ahead of Norwegian entrant Glenn Haug in his Citroen C2 and Hungarian Krisztian Szarbo in his Fabia. Linnemann himself finished Q1 in seventeenth place, ahead of rival Artis Baumanis. British driver Michael Boak was best of the Brits as he finished up in ninth place in Q1.
Q2 proved that the conditions were making the task of setting a fast time very hard work, however experience was key to keeping a good finishing position. Portuguese driver Mario Barbosa guided his Citroen Saxo to the fastest Q2 time, ahead of Q1 pace setters Krisztian Szarbo and Janno Ligur. Linnemann found himself in thirteenth place whilst Baumanis was classified last after not setting a time in Q2 along with 2015 British Super1600 Rallycross champion Craig Lomax, who endured a difficult weekend.
Q3 saw Kasparas Navickas driving his Skoda Fabia in the top spot ahead of Magnus Bergsjobrenden taking second place in his Set Promotion run Renault Twingo with team-mate Baumanis completing the top three spots. Linnemann scored the tenth fastest time, just behind 2015 rival Timur Shigabutdinov in ninth place, driving the third Renault Twingo.
Q4 was the final chance for anyone to improve their times and stake a claim for the Semi-Finals with only the top 12 cars going through. In much drier conditions, Linnemann finally showed his hand and went fastest ahead of Ligur and Bergsjobrenden. Despite setting 7th fastest time in Q4, Baumanis lost out in the Semi-Finals and would go no further.
The Final saw Szabo on pole position with Shigabutdinov alongside, Linnemann and Barbosa on the middle row and both Ligur and Bergsjobrenden on the back row. Shigabutdinov leapt into the lead whilst Szabo, Linnemann, Ligur and Bergsjobrenden all took the joker on the first lap. However it was Linnemann who took the lead on lap fout as Shigabutdinov took his joker and the danish driver held onto the win ahead of local driver Barbosa and Shigabutdinov.
With round two taking place at Lydden Hill on May 28-29, it is Barbosa who leads the series points standings on 25 points from Linnemann and Ligur who are both tied on 23 points.